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The game that can give you 10 extra years of life | Jane McGonigal

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Published on Jul 9, 2012

http://www.ted.com When game designer Jane McGonigal found herself bedridden and suicidal following a severe concussion, she had a fascinating idea for how to get better. She dove into the scientific research and created the healing game, SuperBetter. In this moving talk, McGonigal explains how a game can boost resilience -- and promises to add 7.5 minutes to your life.

TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world's leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes. Featured speakers have included Al Gore on climate change, Philippe Starck on design, Jill Bolte Taylor on observing her own stroke, Nicholas Negroponte on One Laptop per Child, Jane Goodall on chimpanzees, Bill Gates on malaria and mosquitoes, Pattie Maes on the "Sixth Sense" wearable tech, and "Lost" producer JJ Abrams on the allure of mystery. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design, and TEDTalks cover these topics as well as science, business, development and the arts. Closed captions and translated subtitles in a variety of languages are now available on TED.com, at http://www.ted.com/translate

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Comments • 1,305

TheSamuraiApocalypse
Brought me to tears :')
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SockPuppet89
This is perhaps the best Ted talk ever. I am so much happier already. Time to make some life adjustments! =D
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Hancheng Wu
19 minute talk to save me 7 and a half minutes
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Dannie Wright
First I would like to say that I found this video thanks to Concussion Survivors Project on Facebook, I mention them simply because they have shown me a few things such as this that I most likely would not have found on my own. Next I would like to tell you my story.- I have suffered from chronic (not simply frequent but constant-as in every moment) migraines since the sixth grade and I just graduated from the twelfth. I have had them longer then these six years, but the sixth grade was the point that they began to invade each and every second of the nightmare I have called my life. The pain has grown overtime, reaching outrageous proportions the level of which equivalates to that of a black out concussion (of which I have had). At this point any reader might blame any one of the concussions that I have had as the clear reason behind my condition, but atlas this is not the case. Due to the fact that I have been in this horrid state since before I had ever received one they cannot be marked as the cause, although I am sure they have not helped. The pain has been unbearable, at first it would cause the faucets on my face to pour salty water and my body to cringe, but as the years went on the wells drew dry and I hardened from the experience. Even with the rise in my tolerance the war inside my head was too much for me to handle - by the sixth grade I was taking approximately 15-20 pills of Ibuprofen a day. This increased until by the ninth grade it was 30. Still the bomb shells would ring inside my dome and in an attempt to silence the racket I began to mix painkillers- 30 Ibuprofen, 2-3 butalbital/acetaminophen/caffeine, 3-4 over the counter migraine pills and whatever else I could get my hands on. At one point I was taking over 60 pills a day, about half for attempted prevention and half for pain management. All the pills and doctors did was suppress who I was, I became trapped inside a body that would not work. My thoughts were slowed which was fine because days lasted for weeks-weeks for months and months for years. Time was incomprehensible to me. I still feel as if I have lived a full life, not in the manner of experiences but in time spent upon this blue marble. Along with time I lost my memory - my memories. So many days that are either a blur or a blank space. At one point I sat down to a math test and did not know what to fill in for what should be the simplest of questions: Name. I forgot the three nouns that were assigned to me at my birth. That was when I realized that I had broken my most precious promise: No matter what happens to my flesh I will not loose my mind. I was scared. I was utterly petrified. I had sworn to myself that I would follow through no matter what like my hero Stephen Hawking as long as I had my mind. The lose of my mental capabilities has been the only reason I have ever wanted to die. This began the point that I began to become depressed: the eleventh grade. This last year I plummeted in moral. I did not expected to live through high school, I did not want to live through high school, and I did not plan to live through high school. I became deeply depressed and suicidal, fighting had left me with so many wounds I fear traversing further on my odyssey of life. Then something came up. The Crucible. I had the privilege of playing John Proctor in our schools production of The Crucible with such a phenomenal group of individuals. I was on the edge ready to take the final step to my final fall, which put me in an "I'm done, so I do not care" sort-of attitude. When the chance came up to do they play I thought: "What do I have to loose?". I dedicated my life to the play, I think it was because I saw it as my last act in this world before I slipped my mortal coil and faded forever beyond the veil. Not only to learn my lines but because I was told if I drove to practice having been on the medication I was on again I would be replaced I stopped all analgesics. Cold turkey. The pain was beyond anything I have ever known - it had no measure for it had no limit. In the pain I lost and gained all hope. I grew deeper and deeper depressed until I was starring out of the depths of Tartarus in utter darkness for no light could penetrate to such remote recesses. I could not stand the pain nor the toll it took on my mental capabilities, and yet I found strength - hope. In wanting to welcome the embrasse of Death I found freedom from the burdens of life, and in some way - the pain. With the play I found something I was willing to live for rather then spending my time looking for all the reasons for which I should die. That being said, I cried after the John Proctor I had become died from the ending of the play's showing. I was devastated. An act that I had not done in years (not because of my disapproval of said act, but because of my inability to feel anything other then my head scream at me), took me in it's arms as I again wished Death to do. It was hard, and I am still unsure of exactly how I did it, but I made it through to my graduation. That desire to fight that was retaught to me by John allowed my to fight my demons and find hope - hope in a time when my last option given to me by my neurologist was Botox. BOTOX. Sure I would have looked great for my senior photo, but (and this is sort of ironic although shall be explained) I would rather hug a speeding bus then inject a toxin into my face. That probably is derived from the fact that I have just not cared for life and thus death appears more appetizing then having a neurotransmitter inhibitor injected into my face so that it can break down some of my molecules and leave both short and long term affects on my body. That again probably sounds odd: "I'd rather have no future then a possibly cured future with a few side affects", again - depression. But a 17 year old boy should not have Botox as his final possible chance at getting back a life that he has not had since early grade school, a life wherein there is joy. I'm 18 now, and I have a future. I have been  going through a new treatment wherein my jaw is readjusted in an attempt to help with the migraine (one continuous). It has helped me beyond anything I would have thought was possible: It has made the pain level drop, on average, to about a 7 out of 10. This might seems minimal, but when you have been living for years at a pain level that makes you want to die, dropping in even the smallest amount is welcomed relief. I am about to start the next stage and I am again optimistic of the future, something that for me died long ago. Now I tell this because of what was said in this video... Our shared desire to cast away our demons and our worlds for hope of relief. I tell this because of what was said in this video. Our share of gaming. I tell this because of what was not said in this video - your full struggle. Video games are the unsung heroes in my life. Not only have they provided me with something other then the pain to focus on, but they gave me a life. Many lives. I hurt from light and sound, I hurt from movement and interactions, I hurt from all that is made up of life, I hurt so much I have not been able to live. I have been able to live in video games however. They are where I can run, talk, explore, meet new people, and express myself - things that in my real life cause me such great strife. They gave me the life I was not born with, a life that was worth living. I have gotten some of my life back now, and no longer require gaming to live even though I still often require it as an escape. There are so many that have gone through much greater trials and emerged stronger thanks to them, and they are who I have come to idolize. Stephen Hawking, for example, has gone through possibly one of the worst possible fates, and yet he has become (and I like to believe this is more then just my opinion) the greatest person to live. I cannot fathom to understand what he has had to go through and yet he continues to provide mankind with the greatest possible gift: knowledge. He is my hero not only for the part of his story that was written for him, but that which he has written for himself. I too plan to study physics at university because I, like the greatest mind alive, want to know. To the, probably few, that read this and that have had a ruff patch no matter how large or small, I hope to take away this one thing if nothing else: Keep Going.
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Jaakko Paukku
Abstract: 1. Physical resilience: Move a bit every hour instead of sitting still, for example stand up and take 3 steps or lift your arms up for 5 seconds (increases physical health). 2. Mental resilience: Snap fingers with both hands for exactly 50 times or count from 100 to 0 with decrements of 7 (yes you stop at 2 or -5) (increases willpower and other things). 3. Emotional resilience: Watch in or out the window or look at a picture of your favourite baby animal (Feel love. I take it you have to try and look at people when you are watching in or out of your window). Try to think of, or experience 3 good things for every 1 bad thing as often as bad things occur. 4. Social Resilience: Shake hands with someone for 6 seconds or send a message to someone saying "thank you" (boost your oxytocin by touching people or showing gratitude). Repeat often (didn't say clearly how often but for the rest of your life) and live 10 years longer than is the average age of people.
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Tony James Gilpin
I should be at about max on my emotional resilience stat! I'm always looking out windows!
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Josh Bailey
but i lost 19 and a half minutes watching this video so i'm 12 minutes down
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ANON23
I came into this talk expecting to kill 20 minutes; and was blown away instead. Well deserved standing ovation. Mind blown.
Eugene Washington Jr.
I wished I hadn’t work so hard I wished I had stayed in touch with my friends I wished I had allowed myself to be happier I wished I had the courage to express my true self I wished I had lived life to my dreams The study conducted by Brigham Young University School, a family life was well received by me. Coming up in a household with all of the typical, father leaves; the streets become too familiar. I know that there has to be some validity if not completely relevant information. My father in his limited roll spent his years at work. To hear the statistics articulate that the parents who gave more time engaging in video games with their children had a more solid relationship with them. WOW!  Video games in relation to contact with friends via the farm game, not bad.  Video gams out performing pharmaceutical drugs in combating expression and anxiety, I see where she’s going. The idea that SuperBetter can be factually linked to the healing of so many effected by their own conditions is remarkable. I’m not trying to be indecorous, but maybe the government should at lease consider the idea of Post Traumatic Growth. We’ve adopted post traumatic stress. I served and I would consider my time in Iraq and the experiences, one of the fortunate ones. 
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Sheer Crowd
I will NEVER regret my time playing video games. That time is when I met the greatest people in my life. My best friend, my lover, etc. Of course, I regret the choices I made because of video games... But a minute wasting your real life playing video games is a minute living your life in the virtual world. Games have taught me many social skills (How to make creative comebacks) and that sometimes, the best people you will never meet, you will find in these games. The best and worst parts have been brought out of me while I play games. Protection of the screen. It's made me more sociable than in real life, I'm more willing to stand up for myself. This TED talk was probably one of the best I've ever watched.
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